As the humanitarian crisis in Syria worsens, Samuel Bannett '17 is feeling empowered.
The sixth former at Berkshire recently launched a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $10,000 for organizations that provide support to Syrian refugees, as well as those unable to escape the war-torn country.
"Here at boarding school, it is very easy to live our day-to-day life without worrying, or even knowing, about the atrocities that are going on in the rest of the world," Bannett says. "I want Berkshire to become engaged in what the United Nations has called 'the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.'
Nearly five million refugees have fled Syria since the civil war broke out in 2011, according to news reports. Nearly seven million Syrians do not have the resources to leave and almost 500,000 men, women, and children have been killed during the war, Bannett points out.
Speaking to an audience of students and faculty last month, Bannett said he grew tired of watching news reports on the crisis and wanted to do something to help.
"We have to realize that Syrians are just normal people. They are doctors, businessmen, lawyers, and entrepreneurs. They are uncles, dads, and kids," he said. "They are just unlucky to be caught in the cross-fire of a civil war."
The fundraising effort is the culmination of Bannett's participation in Berkshire's Black Rock Scholars, a program that prepares students to be exemplary citizens of the global community.
On May 14, students will participate in a Bubble Run at Berkshire. Bannett says the event was created to bring awareness to the crisis and raise money for the cause.
Bannett, who is from Spain, says despite the thousands of miles between Berkshire and Syria, the community here can make a difference.
"Every single person has an impact. No matter how big, or how small."